Today I’m re-posting an article with notes I took from an interview Darren Rowse (Problogger) did last summer with The Blog Squad. The following are my notes and thoughts from his interview last August.
Making Money with Your Blog
There are two ways to make money with your blog: directly and indirectly.
- Directly: Your blog is making money (usually via advertisements, affiliate marketing, or paid posts).
- Indirectly: You (the blogger) are able to leverage your blog and sell yourself based on your successful blog. This could mean having a book proposal accepted, writing articles for magazines, or booking speaking gigs. This indirect method is one of the most popular methods of making money and several bloggers have made it work for them (e.g., Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, Brian Clark).
Monetizing: Personal Blog Vs. Business Blog
In the interview, Darren says personal blogs are harder to monetize than business blogs. I agree with him to a certain extent. I have found that, because I straddle the line between being a so-called Mommy Blogger (even though I mostly blog about me and not my kids at my personal blog) and being a Tech Blogger, I have a different view of how monetizing can work for a personal blog. I plan to delve into this more after January.
I think Darren’s point is that, if you have a product (via your business blog) or are representing a business niche, it’s easier to sell that product or specific niche to advertisers. Advertisers know who they want to reach and if your product or business is complementary, then they see the value of advertising with you more readily than they would if you were just a blogger without focus. It’s going to be harder to sell advertising if you’re just discussing the Happy Hour menu at your favorite pub. However, you may talk to the pub’s manager and see if he’s interested in advertising with you!
Mommy blogs, on the other hand, are a different animal altogether. Many don’t necessarily push a specific product, but are personal. However, mommies are an important demographic. Women control about .80 of every dollar a household spends. Marketers see the value in reaching out to these woman and working with them to advertise and promote products. As I said, I’ll be tackling this topic more in-depth next month.
Optimizing Advertising on Your Blog
Darren offered these tips for optimizing your blog ads:
- Position of advertisement on your blog matters. Experiment to find the best placement of ads. Examples of where you can try your ads to see which is best include ads above the fold, placing ads within content, placing ads within RSS, placing ads at the end of posts (e.g., This post sponsored by …). The design of the ad is important.
- Increase your traffic to have successful ads. The more traffic you have, the easier it is to sell ads.
- Remember that the number of ads you post also impacts the success of your campaign. You don’t want to inundate your readers with irrelevant ads or too many ads.
Advice on Making Money with Your Blog
- Experiment and play with different models to see what works for you and your niche. Some blogs are more successful with CPM or cost-per-click ads, others are successful with affiliate ads. Don’t be afraid to ask your readers what they prefer or what would encourage them to click on an ad or make a purchase. You don’t want to distract from your content, but knowing how your audience will react to ads will help you determine if they are right for your blog.
- Consider your readers. They are the reason you’ll be successful. Your readers trust you to help them make decisions. If you accept an ad on your site, readers will most likely assume you agree with that ad and may make a purchase based on your recommendation. Don’t take this responsibility lightly.
- Cost per click ads: These are successful if you are seeing lots of SEO traffic. The ads are fed via a third-party (e.g., AdSense or Google Ads) and are directly related to what the reader is searching for. If someone found your blog by searching the keyword “SEO”, the ads she would see would be related to SEO. You’re paid by how many people click through the ad to the advertiser’s site. How many times have you actually clicked through an ad?
- CPM (cost per thousand) or affiliate marketing works well with loyal readers–you don’t necessarily have to high traffic volume. With CPM ads, you’re paid by how many people view the ad (e.g., $X per 1,000 visitors), not necessarily how many people click through the ad to the advertiser’s site. Affiliate ads (e.g., Amazon Associates) allow you to suggest product(s) and place a link (with your affiliate ID) within your blog post or sidebar. When someone clicks on that link, if she buys the product, you receive a percentage of the sale.